Will County labor talks will resume this week
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain firstname.lastname@example.org November 1, 2013 11:08PM
Will County and members of Will County AFSCME Local 1028 agreed Friday to return to the bargaining table to try to resolve their differences and avert a strike. | File photo
Updated: December 4, 2013 6:18AM
JOLIET — Will County and members of its biggest employees union agreed Friday to return to the bargaining table to try to resolve their differences and avert a strike.
“Both parties have agreed to the request and are working out the details for a session (this week),” county officials said.
Union officials said they would like to see the county budge on its latest contract offer when talks resume.
“We call on management to return to bargaining prepared to compromise on health care and drop their unreasonable demands,” Dave Delrose, who is president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1028, said in a news release.
Labor negotiations stalled last month as the two sides failed to agree on pay raises and health insurance payments after 15 months of bargaining.
Local 1028 members say they’ve gone without raises for four years and don’t want higher health insurance payments to mean less take-home pay.
But county officials feel they’re offered a fair package in light of the county’s limited financial resources. Health insurance for employees cost the county about $36 million this year and is expected to rise to $40 million next year, according to the county.
Will County negotiators made what they said was their “best and final” offer recently. On Thursday, the union sent a notice that it would terminate its collective bargaining agreement Nov. 13 — one of two steps needed for Local 1028 to strike, which could happen as early as Nov. 13 now. Here are the financial terms laid out in the county’s final offer to its union workers:
Salary increases — For 2013, zero percent and a one-time $600 payment for workers at the top of the pay scale. In 2014, 2 percent; in 2015, 1 percent on Jan. 1 and .5 percent on July 1. In 2016, .5 percent on Jan. 1 and another .5 percent on July 1.
Step increases on the pay scale — Employees will continue to earn 2.5 percent step increases for additional years of employment. Employees at the top of the scale who have worked at least 10 years for the county would get $200 more per month for 2014, then they revert back to the current $100 a month.
Health insurance — Employees now pay 1 percent of salary for single coverage and 2 percent for family coverage. The county wants workers to pay a percentage of their premiums instead, based on their pay level.
For workers earning less than $30,000, PPO payments would increase from $9.28 to $14.03 every two weeks for single coverage, and from $19.78 to $42.08 for family coverage. HMO payments would increase from $9.22 to $14.74 for single coverage and $20.22 to $44.22 for family coverage.
For those earning $30,000 to $50,000, PPO payments would increase from $15.63 to $22.64 every two weeks for single coverage and from $31.12 to $67.92 for family coverage. HMO payments would increase from $15.31 to $22.44 for single coverage and from $30.53 to $$67.32 for family coverage.
For those earning more than $50,000, PPO payments would increase from $25.59 to $39.30 every two weeks for single coverage and from $55.58 to $117.91 for family coverage. HMO payments would increase from $25.68 for single coverage to $37.51 and from $51.62 to $112.52 for family coverage.
Some of the higher insurance cost would be offset by two new categories of coverage that the county is offering — employee plus spouse and employee plus children, which would cost less than family coverage.
Local 1028 represents employees in the county court system, health department, highway department, Sunny Hill Nursing Home and county jail and the offices of the sheriff, coroner, recorder, assessor, clerk, county executive and state’s attorney.